Selectmen wait on decision for DPW superintendent

By Tanner Harding | Dec 19, 2017

Marion — No decision has been made on a replacement for recently retired Department of Public Works Superintendent Rob Zora.

Town Administrator Paul Dawson presented a handful of options for replacing Zora to Marion's Board of Selectmen at a meeting on December 14. The options he suggested to selectmen were negotiating with Zora to continue on an interim basis, looking at internal personnel that could step up or finding recently retired people in the field who might be interesting in coming in and working temporarily.

The biggest dilemma to replacing the Superintendent is that the town has recently received funds to undertake a review of the department’s operations. Because of this, Dawson expressed concern that the department could see changes pending the result of the review.

“I don’t think the board wants to hire a permanent, full-time successor until the board has the opportunity to receive the report and decide if any changes need to be made,” he said. “If changes do need to be made, then the job description would be tailored accordingly.”

Dawson said he didn’t know how long the process would take, but put his best guess at around six months, thus creating a need for an interim department head.

Ultimately, the selectmen decided to put off a decision until the board's December 19 meeting to give Dawson a chance to reach out to some of the recently retired people in the field. However, on Tuesday, Dawson said he had only been able to reach one person, who would not be available for the interim job.

“Another name was provided to me today and I will reach out,” Dawson said. “We can implement any of the options from the last meeting, or we can go another week or so.”

Select Chair Jody Dickerson said he and Dawson had met with the foremen from different departments and was confident they could hold down the fort for a while longer.

“We spoke to individuals and advised them what we expect from them…I have the utmost confidence it can continue as is,” Dickerson said. “I told them to imagine [Zora] is on vacation.”

Selectman Norm Hills agreed, but said if none of the retirees are interested in temporarily taking over the Superintendent position before the next meeting in January, the board should meet sooner to choose a different option.

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